Getting to the Heart of Things. . .

Average_Jbob overlooks Santa Clarita, CA.Sometimes it feels like you make plans just to throw them out!

Take this past saturday, for example.  I typically plan my long-run for saturday since I’m not normally rushed for time.  I’ve got a Spartan Super coming up in 18 days followed quickly by a Half Marathon and a couple Spartan Beasts. . .so I’m alternating between a 15 mile road run and a 10 mile trail run.  Well, last weekend I ended up skipping my 10 mile trail run completely (slept in and ran out of time), so I knew I absolutely HAD to get my long run in THIS weekend!

I like to take my long-run at a slow pace. . .something called Zone 2 Training. . .I’ll explain what that is and why I use it in a post soon. . .for now just know that it means I have to keep my heart rate between 60% – 70% of it’s MAX. . .which works out to 113bpm – 132bpm for me.  This equates to a very slow jog. . .so 15 miles at a Zone 2 speed would normally take me just over 3 hours to complete.  Normally, I wouldn’t even worry about it, but this past saturday I had a prior commitment to keep at 11am, which meant I needed to be home by 10:30 at the latest.

No problem!  I figured I’d start my run by 7am and be done by 10:15am. . .plenty of time!


What I didn’t take into account is that sometimes your heart rate doesn’t follow the plan you make!  If it’s hot outside, your heart beats faster. . .if you didn’t get enough sleep, your heart beats faster. . .if you aren’t hydrated enough, your heart beats faster. . .if you OVER-hydrate, your heart beats faster. . .if you are getting sick, stressed, or simply have been over-training, you guessed it, your heart beats faster!

Not sure which of those I did since I felt great and ready to go, but for whatever reason it felt like I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without my heart rate jumping up to 140+ bpm!  I tried to find a pace that would get me down to Zone 2. . .but after only 1/2 a mile it became obvious to me that there was NO WAY I was going to get my 15 mile Zone 2 run done in time!  Or really ANY length of a run in Zone 2!  So I did what I find I have too when a plan doesn’t work. . .I threw it out!

I had already decided I was going to get my 15 miles no matter what. . .AND I figured I NOW had just under 3 hours to do it. . .so I turned off my heart rate monitor’s Zone 2 alarm and simply ran.  For all the training tools I use. . .sometimes I forget what it’s like to simply run.  Back to basics.  Smiles and Miles.  It felt good.

I ended up clocking an average pace of 10:37 (min/mi) and only taking 2 hrs. and 39 min.  So time to spare!


Lesson to be learned here is that you ABSOLUTELY NEED to set up a training plan in order to get ready for an upcoming event. . .and then you ABSOLUTELY NEED to be able to chuck parts of it out and improvise!  Don’t get discouraged when your plan doesn’t work out exactly as written. . .look at the broad strokes and not the fine details.

Speaking of fine details. . .I just want to point out that taking a selfie with a bear is normally a HORRIBLE idea. . .and if you come across one while you are out for a run it may be a good time to get in some quick Zone 5 training!  But IF that bear hasn’t moved since you spotted it AND looks to have been tagged by a pack of bicycle-crazed graffiti-artists, then it’s probably ‘ok‘.



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